LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. — The Rugged Maniac obstacle course is a 5K mud marathon. In October, Levi Gobin became the first blind person to run the race, and then over the weekend, he did it again.
“I am not scared of being blind,” Gobin told ABC Action News sports anchor Kyle Burger. “It doesn't matter if I am blinded or sighted, I can do pretty much anything anyone else can do.”
Gobin was born blind. His condition is called optic nerve hypoplasia, but it doesn’t stop him from living life.
“My mom did it when I was younger. I was too young to do it. I thought, why not? For the first couple of obstacles I was like, ‘I don’t know about this,’” Gobin said. “But after the first two, I was like ‘yeah, bring it on.’ I believe blind people can do anything as long as they set their mind to it.”
“I was nervous at first, not because he couldn’t do it, I know Levi. He can do anything,” his mom Shree said. “Just about whether or not he would enjoy it. After his first couple of obstacles, okay let’s go.”
Gobin trains with his mom nearly every day, biking, running, and lifting weights. She's served as his eyes along the way the first time they conquered the course.
“Trust has always been a huge part of our relationship,” she said. “As a small child, if I said ‘stop’ he needed to know he had to stop.”
Now, Shree says go.
Gobin also tackled the course with touch and a technique called echolocation.
“If a wall is next to you, you can hear the wall is next to you without going out to feel it,” Gobin said. “You can hear that it is there. The sound instead of traveling in open space, it stops. There is no more room for the sound to bounce around.”
The 17-year-old works for “Clusiv,” an e-learning platform helping other blind people adapt to work life.
On Saturday, Gobin ran the obstacle course with Clusiv’s CEO Lukas Simianer.
“Randomly people would come up to us and say how sorry they are that he is blind,” Shree said. “He doesn’t roll his eyes, they just don’t know. I’m totally fine.”